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'Not good enough!' Japan captain Yoshida sounds Asian Cup alarm

AFP  |  Abu Dhabi 

has warned the Blue they will need to find an extra gear to challenge co-favourites and for the Asian Cup title.

The defender admitted had benefited from two controversial penalty decisions after a 1-0 victory over in at the weekend sent the Blue into the last 16.

"We have to be more clinical," told AFP after Japan's second straight win in Group F.

"We should have scored two or three more. Our performances are still not good enough clearly."

Genki Haraguchi converted from the spot after 28 minutes after tumbling theatrically under little or no contact.

then had a legitimate penalty shout waved off after appeared to use his hand to block a shot just before half-time.

"We were a little bit lucky with the penalty we had -- and the one not given as well," shrugged

"But the most important point for us was to get through the group." Nagatomo likened his lucky escape to Diego Maradona's infamous intervention against England at the 1986 World Cup, expressing relief that the VAR (video referee) system is not used during the Asian Cup group stages.

"It hit my hand," he admitted. "It's lucky there was no VAR because it probably would have been given. Happily the 'Hand of God' was with us today."

A new-look were similarly unimpressive in beating 3-2 in their opening fixture, but were missing two-goal hero for the clash due to a

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The Werder Bremen striker was sorely missed against the Gulf side, with Takumi Minamino squandering a hatful of chances.

"It was tougher than we thought it would be," conceded Yoshida.

"If we had taken our chances we wouldn't have struggled so much late on. But I'm confident we will find our form." Japan, who reached the knockout stage at last year's World Cup, have won a record four Asian Cups but appear to lack the quality of and at this year's tournament.

"We can't expect to dominate every game," said Japan Hajime Moriyasu, who is unbeaten in seven matches since taking over after

"It was important to get through the group and we have done that. The key will be to grow into the tournament game by game." But Yoshida insisted Iran, who are purring, and a side boosted by the arrival of Tottenham forward will be the teams to beat -- along with holders

"I saw Iran at the World Cup, where they played really well," said the 30-year-old.

"I was really impressed. And of course Australia, South Korea -- they're always the most difficult opponents.

"We have to make sure we're ready for them, we have to improve.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 14 2019. 16:25 IST